Robert Stephens

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Romeo And Juliet (1968) Review


Very Good
Franco Zeffirelli's rendition of Shakespeare's classic tragic love story gets off to a slow and rocky start but eventually takes hold once its titular leads take over. The introduction of musical numbers isn't bad, though it severely dates this production to the '60s, however faithful it otherwise is as a period piece. Olivia Hussey's Juliet is the show stealer and would go on to modest success as an actress; Leonard Whiting (as Romeo), however, would quickly fade into obscurity in the following years. Winner of two Oscars and a Best Picture nominee.

Cleopatra (1963) Review


OK
It is virtually impossible to separate Cleopatra the movie from Cleopatra the spectacle -- and that's because they are truly and rarely intertwined.

A legend of Hollywood, the 1963 production of Cleopatra has so much curiosity surrounding it I hardly know where to start. It was budgeted at $2 million and eventually cost (up to) $44 million to produce -- close to $300 million in today's dollars. Liz Taylor almost died during the filming and was given a tracheotomy to keep her alive. The production was forced to move from Rome to London and back to Rome again. Two of its stars fell in love (Taylor and Burton) on the set, ruining both of their marriages. 20th Century Fox essentially went bankrupt, leading to the ousting of its chief. The first director was fired after burning $7 million with nothing to show for it. The second director (Mankiewicz) was fired during editing, only to be rehired when no one else could finish the picture. Taylor threw up the first time she saw the finished product. Producer Walter Wanger never worked in Hollywood again. And the original six-hour epic was cut to a little over three.

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Robert Stephens

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Cleopatra (1963) Movie Review

Cleopatra (1963) Movie Review

It is virtually impossible to separate Cleopatra the movie from Cleopatra the spectacle -- and...

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